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BOOK REVIEW: SNAKEHEAD
BY PETER MAY

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Snakehead, the fourth of the “China books” by author Peter May, is being published in the United States for the first time by Poisoned Pen Press. Though some readers here may have managed to get their hands on a book or two of this series before, this is for most readers their introduction to Dr. Margaret Campbell and Beijing Detective Li Yan. One might think that starting with book four would be a problem. Its not. While readers will quickly become aware that there has been a relationship between the two characters in the past, that “past history” really creates no problems for readers. It also helps that with Snakehead, both characters find themselves in the United States-a fresh start for them as well as the readers.

A “Snakehead” in China is someone who arranges the smuggling of people out of the country to places around the world. This book, as one would expect from the title, is centered around a people smuggling operation. Chapter one opens with Deputy J.J. Jackson's discovery of a produce truck loaded with dead Asians. Dr. Campbell is called in to help process the bodies and soon Detective Li Yan is summoned from his Washington office as a liaison from the Chinese Embassy. What is initially thought to to be the tragic outcome of a smuggling operation however is soon elevated to at best a medical experiment gone terribly wrong or at worst a possible act of terrorism attempt.

Two things really stand out in this book. The characters from this series are so strong that they can easily shift settings without losing a step. Having read one of the earlier books in the series that was set in China, I was a bit skeptical about the move to America for this book. I quickly found that Campbell and Yan are just as interesting in Houston as they are in Beijing. The other thing which really stands out is the scientific angle of the plot. This thread of the plot is absolutely riveting. I would think fans of the early Creighton books in particular would find this book very pleasing.

As for the writing, May has constructed a very tightly written book. In just 300 pages, he has plotted out and told as complex of a tale as many, many authors take twice the page count to do. This is really good news for readers who lament the books that would have been great if only they had been edited down a couple of hundred pages.

Oh, one point of interest. Many readers skip prologues. Snakehead has a prologue and it is important. Please do yourselves a favor and read the prologue!

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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